Jacqui Smith has said Ed Balls advised her to try to enjoy her Strictly Come Dancing performances and “really look as if you’re trying”.
The former home secretary, who is competing in this year’s series of the celebrity dancing programme, said her fellow former Labour Party politician shared his tips for appearing on the show.
Smith told BBC Breakfast that Balls, who appeared on the programme himself in 2016, had stressed the importance of “projecting yourself and enjoying it and really looking as if you’re trying”.
“Trust me, I am trying,” she said.
“One of the things about being a politician is you are reasonably comfortable about doing an interview about yourself, but I obviously haven’t got any dance skills.”
Smith added: “I’ve made good use of my bath salts, my foot spa, my plasters this week.”
Balls failed to make the final when he appeared on the programme despite his crowd-pleasing routines, including a salsa to Psy song Gangnam Style.
He was voted out in the 10th week.
Smith, 57, who was the first female home secretary, also told the programme there is a “brilliant camaraderie between the contestants” in this year’s competition.
“Some of them are young and fit and some of them have done some dancing before and look absolutely fabulous, but everybody is full of nerves,” she added.
“We are sharing a common adventure.
“They are brilliant, such a fun bunch.”
Smith quit the cabinet in 2009 and subsequently lost her seat in the 2010 election.
Strictly’s launch programme, in which the pairings between the celebrities and professional dancers are revealed, airs on Saturday night.
Boxer Nicola Adams and comedian Bill Bailey are among the other famous faces taking part in this year’s competition.